Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

In the early 1990s I was travelling in Hampshire with my then boyfriend and we happened to bump into a local Gypsy he knew. We got talking and the man told us about his uncle, who, during the second world war had, in his words, ‘hidden up in the woods. I had just started studying history at university then, and I realised that although I of course knew about the ‘Gypsy camp’ at Auschwitz, I had never given any thought to what Gypsies and Travellers had done in the war in Britain. Two years later and spending a summer on the outskirts of Weymouth, next to a council estate, one day a group of Irish Travellers pulled in, and never had I seen such a frenzy of vilification. Asking myself ‘why?’ was one strand that led to a PhD looking at the history of Gypsies and Travellers in twentieth century Britain; which in turn led to work interviewing Gypsies and Travellers in Norfolk about their health as part of the first nation-wide study of their health in relation to the rest of the population; which in turn led to intermittently visiting residents at Dale Farm in Essex in the years leading up to the 2011 eviction; and then, most recently to being asked to write a general history of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.


Another Darkness Another Dawn

Another Darkness, Another Dawn

A History of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Reaktion Books, 12 Feb 2014

‘Becky Taylor achieves something quite brilliant here’  Annabel Tremlett, Times Higher Education


minority and state bookA minority and the state

Travellers in Britain in the twentieth century

Manchester University Press, April 2008






‘clear, balanced and explains and explodes the usual nasty stereotypes. Everyone should read it’, Michelle Hanson, The Guardian




It’s Time Historians Get Past the Stereotype of Romani Peoples and Write Them into History

History News Network, 15th June 2014

Is Nomadism the ‘problem’? The social construction of Gypsies and Travellers as perpetrators of ‘anti-social’ behaviour in Britain

with Colin Clark in Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives, Edited by Sarah Pickard, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (publication date: 24 September 2014)

Britain’s Gypsy Travellers: A People on the Outside

History Today, Volume: 61, Issue: 6, 2011

Dale Farm Eviction Looms: inequality, racism and Travellers in modern Britain

Anti UK August 2011

Are Gypsies and Travellers Britain’s twilight citizens?

Chris Bowlby in History Extra, Monday 4th October 2010

Stereotypes and the state: Britain’s travellers past and present

History and Policy, 1st June 2008

Travellers, Citizenship and the early Welfare State



Entitlement, belonging and outsiderness: Britain’s Gypsy Travellers in the twentieth century

Entitlement, belonging and outsiderness

University of Oxford Podcasts 05 Mar 2012
BBC Radio 4 Today programme interview at Dale Farm